Friday, May 25, 2007
Soaring to new heights
It took roughly 10 minutes. Not long enough to really have a full experience but short enough to say I've done it. I'm talking about flying in a helicopter. This may come as a surprise to you but in all my dozen years as a reporter I've never really come across a time when I had to be on one. This "first" of mine happened when I went to Brittany in France to do a story on investing in private islands. We got to the airport and flew the short distance to Ile de Fort Bloque. It was fun, exciting, and had that feel of importance. My guide to the private island exclaimed it was utterly incomprehensible that I had never flown in a helicopter before. Truth is, I had never really thought about it before. What it did make me think, though, because of my job as host of Art of Life, I've had some pretty amazing experiences that I hope when I'm 85 I'd be able to tell my grandkids what their grandma got up to when she was young.

Last year I hopped on a World War II Spitfire. I was doing a story on how the luxury watch company IWC lures celebrity clientele (such as Boris Becker) and spokespeople to support their wares. It was a weekend in the English countryside and part of the theatrics involved flying in this classic fighter aircraft. The pilot of this two-seater plane was determined to show me what his baby could do. And he did. The turns, the dips, and the climbs left me feeling green and I'm convinced my internal balance has been off since then. Nevertheless, I still get looks of envy from airplane and history buffs whenever I bring up my little jaunt in this classic piece of aviation.

Imagine learning how to drive like a Formula 1 driver. Yep, F1 driver David Coulthard offered Art of Life his expertise on how to drive like a race car driver. Exciting right? Not for me. Why? Well folks, manual transmission, standard, stick-shift, whatever you call it, I don't know how to drive it. That's right, yours truly can only drive an automatic transmission car. Which means most sports cars are off-limits to me. So while I almost had that opportunity it had to be deferred to a colleague. Determined not to forego a hair-raising experience such as driving like a speed demon I learned how to drive the Ferrari 612 Scaglietti instead. It may not be the same (and David Coulthard wasn't my teacher) but it was a snazzy sports car to me and the folks at Ferrari were very patient with me. Fitted with a six-speed mechanical gearbox as well as the Formula 1-style paddle shifts meant even I could drive this smooth-mobile without having to worry about my inability to coordinate the clutch with the gear-shift. The sheer speed, noise of the engine roaring, and knowing my brother -- who is a sports car fanatic -- is envious and in awe are reasons enough for this experience to be a memorable one for me. FYI, I have tried learning how to drive a stick-shift, but alas it didn't stick.

These are just a few experiences that I've been fortunate enough to enjoy. Going through my list I can check off my first flight in a private jet, my first sip of Cristal Champagne (which if I'm honest, I really didn't like), my first stay on a yacht courtesy of designer Alberta Ferretti who took us along the coast of Italy. I can also tick off reporting from the Oscars, trying on diamonds worth millions of dollars on a yacht in Monaco during the Grand Prix (while the loud race took place just outside), jet-skiing on a frozen lake in northwestern Canada, and of course I can't forget playing elephant polo in Rajasthan, India.

While all these experiences have been work-related they are experiences I probably wouldn't come across in my every day life. It certainly makes me thankful. I'm looking forward to many, many more memorable moments.
Posted By Monita: Friday, May 25, 2007
Hi Monita

Nice to see you on CNN.

Been watching you since you were on CityTV Toronto CA. Then you disappeared and reappeared on CNN and

I hope you show Rajasthan on CNN travel how Rich and Majestic is that area along with its cultural history.

Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 4:41 PM, May 25, 2007
A lovely anchor with her great show and interesting blog makes Art Of Life a program that I wait for, every month. Congratulations to all of you involved.
Posted By Anonymous Danesh - Mumbai India : 6:14 AM, May 29, 2007
Hi Monita
I really love your show. Your topics are unique and interesting. And I'm very glad that my favorite show is hosted by the most beautiful anchor. Keep up the good work. I hope to see more of you in the next shows.
Posted By Anonymous Samantha de castro Quezon City, Philippines : 4:30 AM, June 01, 2007
Hi Monita,
WOW is the only word I can exclaim after watching this month's Art of Life. I only wish I could fly in a helicopter or buy a private island.Hmmm...if only our wishes were horses.... right? Well, in short thank you so much for giving us a sliver of what we call 'living in style'. Good show.
Posted By Anonymous SriVidya K, Toronto, Canada : 9:18 PM, June 02, 2007
Hello MONITA!!! I was green with envy as i marvelled at your diverse experiences on the job.Wish mine was as rewarding.Your article was really inspiring as it makes one realise life is too short and we all have to make most of it while living it.I have a long wish list of things i wanna do.I had better start ticking away :-)
Posted By Anonymous JydaGirl, Lagos,Nigeria : 1:52 PM, June 08, 2007
Hey Monita, it's so great to see what you are up to. Congrats on all of the current happenings and successes.
Posted By Blogger Hope Mirlis : 4:23 AM, June 11, 2007
Hi Monita,

It's amazing to see you on CNN, I remember the last time I saw you, you were covering the IDance Rally here in Toronto for City. From the sounds of it, you have had some amazing experiences and I highly jealous that you've been able to fly in a Spitefire!!

Posted By Anonymous woodrow w : 2:12 PM, June 30, 2007
Are you serious? You cannot really think that these kinds of experiences are the most memorable moments of your life? Anyone who thinks that these things are of any importance in life needs to get a life. Spend some time in New Orleans or Darfur, talk to a child or an old person, work the Special Olympics or spend some time in a hospice. I love an adventure and spend stupid amounts of money to have a good time too often but good grief don't Paris Hilton it up all over the place, it comes off as kind of pathetic.

ALC from Los Angeles, CA
Posted By Anonymous Anonymous : 9:39 PM, August 07, 2007
hi monita

i love your show art of life and i think u do a wonderful job on the show. the show really inspires me and shows me that there is a different kind of lifestyle that be attained if i aspire to it.

with respect to the gear stick in the sportscar, i can't use a gear stick as well so i'm glad i have found someone who can't. i'm the first of five kids and i'm the only that can't drive a gear stick.
Posted By Anonymous olaide : 4:45 PM, August 27, 2007
CNN anchor Monita Rajpal blogs about her experiences filming the "Art of Life" show.

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